WAR DEPARTMENT, October 16, 1863-10.45 a.m.
Nashville and Bridgeport:
Your telegram of yesterday received. The operations in the Department of the Cumberland are of such importance that you had better remain there as long as your presence can be useful or contribute to the regulation of transportation and the important duties of your department. The crisis here will probably be over before you can arrive, and all reports indicate the necessity of a controlling and regulating mind where you are.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
LOUISVILLE, October 16, 1863.-8 p.m.
(Received 9 a.m., 17th.)
Hon. E. M. STANTON:
On arriving here to-night I met your dispatch. Will spend to-morrow here, and endeavor to get forward some supplies and ascertain what can be done here; then return to Nashville, and probably to Stevenson. The rebel cavalry, General Hooker informed me at Stevenson, had been attacked a second time and dispersed into small parties. If this be so the Twelfth Corps can be called forward by General Rosecrans. It appears to me of vital importance that he get possession of the river, at least as far as the rebel batteries on Lookout Mountain will permit him to use it - that is, either to 5 or 6 miles of Chattanooga - to repair the roads over Walden's Ridge, so as to make it possible to throw full supplies of rations and forage into Chattanooga by wagon trains. It will require much work, and more time than I fear can be spared. This labor must be performed by the troops. The roads from Bridgeport to Battle Creek will, after the rains, be almost impassable. It was very bad when I came through. I will send forward tools, and urge upon the generals commanding the importance of straining every nerve upon this work. The troops must do the work.
M. C. MEIGS,
NASHVILLE, October 16, 1863.
Captain Perkins sent to Stevenson to Captain Warren a week ago 2,500 each, shovels, picks, and axes; has as many more here and twice as many in Louisville. You can order what you need,
there-fore. General Howard has 300 men on the road to Battle Creek, having no tools for more. A large force ought to be at work on each slope of the mountain; road good except ascent and descent of mountain, and from Jasper Bridgeport; Sequatchie Valley road good, rest infamous. Forage and feed depots are needed at each base of the mountain to feed passing trains. Escort duty badly performed; men ride or straggle with guns in wagons.
M. C. MEIGS,